Cheshire Life gardening columnist Jacqui Brocklehurst is enjoying the fruits of her labours

Jacqui Brocklehurst

Jacqui Brocklehurst - Credit: Archant

It was a slow start but what a scorcher this summer turned out to be. Record temperatures have reached above 30 degrees in some areas and our gardens have been growing like billy-o.

It’s the edible gardens that have faired particularly well. Long, hot, dry spells have allowed chillies and tomatoes to ripen while copious amounts of water from the water butt have produced a seemingly endless supply of courgettes.

This season has also produced a plentiful supply of fruit. In June I had a steady supply of fresh juicy strawberries followed by another flush of rhubarb. July saw me picking redcurrants, whitecurrants, gooseberries and blackcurrants by the bucket load. July was my busiest month in the garden and everything seems to come good just as I spend a week in Tatton Park exhibiting at the RHS flower show. Then it’s off camping as the children have finished school and it’s time to enjoy those long, lazy, summer holidays.

When the weather is fine I can’t think of a better place to be than the English countryside. There are so many evocative sounds and scents, such as the heady fragrance of privet, or the perfume of honeysuckle lingering in the night air.

One thing we are proud of in this country is our stately homes and their magnificent gardens. At this time of year these gardens are well worth a visit as the herbaceous borders are filled with late flowering perennials. It is these show-stopping plants that carry the season of interest through into autumn.

Salvias, rudbeckias and heleniums are all good fillers for this time of year. Verbena bonariensis is a late flowering self seeder that weaves its way through a border. It not only adds height and colour, it is a much loved nectar plant for bees and butterflies. Plant it now and you should be rewarded with many more next summer.

For more gardening information visit jacquis websites or

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